The board of British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) has proposed breaking up its British Nuclear Group (BNG) subsidiary and selling off parts of that business as the best way of generating value for the government.

BNFL said that its Project Services business and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) shareholding would be sold separately from the nuclear decommissioning business which holds the contract for the work at Sellafield. BNFL had originally hoped to sell BNG as a going concern.

The news has been greeted by surprise by some in the industry, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, with one industry source telling the newspaper that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the BNFL could not reach an agreement on the sale of BNG: It is a complete shambles. People at the top of BNFL are blaming the NDA and vice versa, he said.

However, BNFL is keen to get on with the sales. In a statement the company said: The sale of the remainder of British Nuclear Group and the associated competition for the Sellafield and Reactor sites will continue to be discussed with the NDA and a joint approach developed and agreed quickly.